Friday, 27 May 2016

Life happens

The heading of today’s blog is inspired by the iconic statement made by the protagonist in the movie Forrest Gump, ‘S##t happens’, incidentally it is also boldly emblazoned on a regular beach side walker on Marina whom I cross every day. Yesterday, I was politely stopped by an elderly gentleman (he revealed his age proudly during the course of his advisory to be 75!), he sincerely tried to dissuade me from running every day. I heard him patiently and wished him good health and that he should wish me that I continue to run like this for the next 20 years and seriously rival Fauza Singh’s exploits.
Just as I was celebrating 40 days of continuous running, the ginger ballet over the wet Marina sidewalks seems to have strained my glutes. This brought the Hubli Passenger to a grinding halt putting paid to ambitious plans for overhauling Michelle’s exploits of 194 days uninterrupted effort. I remember the last time when I was counting days was when I had just quit cigarettes, some improvement this! I think the real liberation happens when we stop counting!
I find interesting denizens of night when I start my run. In the last one week, twice a triad of the significant ‘other’ gender pass me on their scooty. They seem to proclaim why should only ‘Boyz and ‘Girlz’ have all the fun. The lead member progressed from shy smiles to waves and finally yesterday she made the statement ‘Does your feet not hurt running barefoot?’, I was reminded of the famous Raj Kumar dialogue in the movie Pakeezah where seeing the exposed bare feet of Meena Kumari he famously said something similar!
Now I do not brace myself when I hear two wheelers approaching from the rear with kids making loud noises, the majority of them now do a slow fly-past with mock salutes as they pass by. I have also become less jumpy on hearing rubber against road screeching in case it is one of the new gangs yet to be domesticated by the charms of the Hubli passenger.
Apart from the runners and walkers who regularly cross me at fixed locations on the Marina, there has been a new addition, this lady laboriously, but, regularly runs by when I am on my way back after the run. We generally meet on the Savera flyover. My friend Ramkumar Sundaresan was with her one day when they crossed me, must find out her story from him! Her determination is admirable!
Pain in the glutes is a real pain, last three days the Hubli passenger had to be grounded! I found the courage to restart the narrative after a slow and painful, but, a regular quota nevertheless today. None of the regulars commented on my absence and here I was brooding the last three days that I must have been missed! Is it their good naturedness that keeps them from proclaiming my slip!
When I crossed a group of youngsters today, I started to react as is my wont when I heard some in the group doing a catcall! Lucky I did not, others in the group put them wise and I earned a salute as a bonus.
The first part of the run was very tough as I was sweating profusely, but, no respite due to the muggy and still weather. The air got cooler and there was even some slight drizzle in the second half of the run. The Sun came out in the end to have the last laugh when I was at my weakest. Hope I am able to recover for the run tomorrow. I met the old man (yes the 75 year old! Who thought I am overstraining for my age!) and glared at him, he did not get the message and smiled back politely!
Ram Rajagopalan is after me in his usual persistent and persuasive way to get to flag off the Marina Minnals Long run this Sunday. I hate these as this appears to be the youngster’s polite way of promoting me to the Margdarshak Mandal. I may huff and puff, but, I plan to run for many more years and would not take the hint to graduate to flagging off status any time in near future! On a serious note, hope this niggle does not altogether keep me off my run on the Sunday!

Friday, 6 May 2016

A graded response

                When the weather looked like having taken its foot of the pedal a few days back, I thought Wall like persistence had paid off! The feel good was short-lived, the empire has struck back with a vengeance, but, the Chennai runners continue to brave the inclement weather and log miles! As if the current level of Bheja-Fry was not enough, Sun has officially taken power-play (Kathri-veyyil in local lingo) from 4th May. Today was the 25th day of running after the one day break on 11th April, which means 53 days of running in the last 54 days. I am trying to get close to Michelle Kakade’s feat of 194 days (of the Golden Quadrilateral run fame!) in my own sedentary way.
                What has been disturbing me in the last few days is the way we respond to issues. It takes a Rs. 7000cr default of Vijay Mallya or enormous use of water for IPL match or for helicopter landing at drought site to shake our collective conscience, while we are inured to washing cars, watering concrete space outdoors for rangoli (the original purpose must have been to suppress dust in mud courtyards!). I am really pained to see the water spilled using a big hose on tar road in the Army area. The jawan doing the honours was polite to my pleadings about the crisis in Latur and need for being economical with this precious resource, he only said orders. Am thinking of petitioning the Defence minister once he gets free from the helicopter scam.
                One run in with my beggar friend (who sits near Labour statue) shook me to the core. He generally gives me a cheerful wave and keeps count of my loop. On that day, he looked very disturbed, stopped me and asked me a fundamental question ‘of what use am I to people around me’! The provocation was a drunkard friend of his getting to shake my hand by walking up to me near the war-memorial when he was sitting on the pavement nearby and I did not stop to talk to him. I also only noticed that day that he had an artificial leg for one of his legs (Maybe, my flaunting of running everyday in front of him got his goat!). He told me that his two sons were CA’s and challenged me to show my card (my ward’s educational qualification!), he passed the judgment that a CA was higher than a Lawyer, I did not contest his claim. I pacified him and got away. Relations are now normal and wattage of his smiles and his resuming honorary duties of being my lap counter are back to their pristine position.
                I have various times commented about how I stretch myself in my run when challenged by a youngster (more so if it is a girl!), what happened last week was different. As I crossed this girl who was stretching, I could hear her starting to run after me. I increased my pace so as to not to let her overtake. She finally caught up after some time, came alongside and told me that she wanted to run with me and that she is a fan. I told her, had I known I would not have stretched myself and as a consequence              made my last few kilometers in the Sun that much more difficult. When I was gloating over this high praise and returning on a high for my second loop, I crossed two young boys who were running slowly. After I crossed them, the younger of the two (must be not more than 10 years!) crossed me effortlessly and after going ahead of ran with his two hands locked behind his back. He led me till the labour statue. I felt it was God’s response to my swollen head from the young lady’s praise. After that whenever they see me, the youngster races me for a bit. Today both of them were running in the opposite direction leading a stray pup. The boy showed no interest in me. He seemed to have achieved the purpose of teaching me the lesson!
                Biscuit (my going on 8 Labrador!) has not been having it easy in the hot weather. He has taken note of the positions of counselors opening up for his breed at Mumbai airport. Considering his age, he would like to be a counselor than a fetcher at KLM airlines (earlier advertised on facebook!). He has no charm of foreign postings and would surely not dream of leaving me behind!

                My plan for the bowling power play (till May 29th ) is to run easy without looking at the strike/asking rate and just protecting my unbroken run, so wish me luck!